“Mojave”: Oscar Isaac’s winning streak deserts him


“Mojave” opens Friday at AMC Johnson Creek. R, 1:37, two stars out of four.

You know how, sometimes, an actor will be on some kind of golden streak, with one great performance and one great film after another, until you think that there’s no physical way they will ever make a bad movie ever again?

Oh, hi, Oscar Isaac in “Mojave.”

Isaac has had an incredible run lately, from “Inside Llewyn Davis” to “Ex Machina” to, of course, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” But that run comes to a screeching halt with “Mojave,” a limp and pretentious thriller that plays like the “Entourage” guys tried to make a Hitchcock movie: The Brah Who Knew Too Much.

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“Ex Machina”: These are the droids you’re looking for


“Ex Machina” opens Friday at Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema and Sundance. R, 1:48, three stars out of four.

Novelist Alex Garland wrote the screenplay for Danny Boyle’s “Sunshine,” which aimed for being an epic science-fiction film but somehow got distracted into becoming a serial killer thriller along the way.

Garland wrote and directed “Ex Machina,” which also aspires to be heady sci-fi. But this time Garland, who seems to be unable to resist the lower pleasures of genre, lets the film turn into something of an erotic thriller. But while “Sunshine” was fatally undone by its tonal shift, the mixing of genres works well in Garland’s beautiful and tense film.

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“Inside Llewyn Davis:” How does it feel, to be on your own?


“Inside Llewyn Davis” opens Friday at Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema and Sundance Cinemas in Madison. R, 1:45, four stars out of four.

If you see a man walking down the street in wintertime, freezing because he doesn’t have a warm coat on, you think one of two things: 1.) he can’t afford a warm coat, or 2.) he left it at home.

In “Inside Llewyn Davis,” filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen show the reasons why their hapless folk singer hero, Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) seems to be out in the cold in so many ways. Part of it is beyond his control — he’s a folk singer trying to make a living in early ’60s in New York’s Greenwich Village, a tough line of work for the great ones (and Davis doesn’t seen to be one of them). And part of it is a result of Davis’ penchant for self-sabotage, antagonizing allies and burning bridges and generally being a pill in the name of art. He doesn’t have a warm coat, but if he did, he’d figure out a way to lose it.

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